Numenera is a broad term used to describe a variety of devices, relics, and other instances of ancient technology that are scattered across the surface of Tezenelia. 

People with knowledge of the relics of older worlds divide them into three types: artifacts, cyphers, and oddities.

ARTIFACTS are large devices that typically can be used more than once to produce the same result. An artifact might be a belt that creates a shield of invisible force to protect the wearer or a flying skiff that carries people and cargo from one place to another. The term is almost always used for an item that has an obvious purpose—a weapon, a defense, a mode of transport, a means of communication or learning new information, a means of obtaining food or other necessities, and so forth. Artifacts make their users more powerful, or they make life easier or better.

CYPHERS are usually small, minor devices that most characters can coax a single effect from
before they are depleted and become curiosities or decorations. They might include a quick injection designed to repair physical damage in a living creature or a handheld object that, when manipulated properly, becomes a weapon that explodes with tremendous force. However, cyphers are dangerous when gathered together because they create radiation and harmonic frequencies that are inimical to human life.

ODDITIES are the relics that are neither cyphers nor artifacts. They serve no obvious purpose but have strange functions that are at least curious, if not downright entertaining. Examples include a piece of glass in a metal frame that shows peculiar images or a box with three bells that ring at unpredictable times. Not everything from the prior worlds can be understood. In fact, much of it cannot.


Tezenelia: An Envoy To Sovehles MonsieurDupuis